The Winter of Listening

Today is my friend’s birthday. I’ve learned a lot from them over the years and this reading of The Winter of Listening by David Whyte is for them. 

Breithlá shona duit, mo chara


Winter’s Cloak

Today’s exercise began with a poem that I heard a year ago for the first time, at the Winter Assembly of the Order of Bards, Ovates and Druids. I loved it on first hearing. It is Winter’s Cloak by Joyce Rupp. Here is a recording of me reading it aloud.

Winter's Cloak by Joyce Rupp. Recorded as part of #honouringthedarkness #poetry

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I love Winter.

I live in Ireland, temperate land where Winter means darkness and short days. It rarely snows here, we are too close to the seas. Winter here means cold and damp, but the contrast with the summer is the lack of light. In the Summer, I feel guilty about spending time indoors reading and resting. In the Summer, a sunny day means I have to go out and enjoy it. Sunny days are a rarity even in Summer.

In Winter, however, I am allowed to be as introverted as I like. I can lie under a blanket reading a book, writing or just being, and it is a day well spent.

I am fortunate to live in a place where hunger and starvation are no longer common. I have hot showers and a warm house and food that is transported around the world to huge supermarkets so that even in the late months of winter/early spring, I always have food. I do not hunger. Most of the world is not so fortunate. I try not to forget how fortunate I am, and I am grateful for my own well being.

I love the darkness, and I welcome the returning light at solstice and throughout the year. And yet, I do not always give myself the darkness of winter’s cloak. I blind myself with the bluescreen light of facebook, of netflix. Perhaps a little more, I would like to wrap myself in the darkness and stillness of winter’s cloak, and rest, just being. Just being.

This post is day six of my personal responses to ‘Honouring the Darkness’, a ten day reflective period leading up to the winter solstice, facilitated by daily emails from Janelle Hardy at

Video: The True Love

Last week I attended Samhain celebrations at my friend’s home in Kilkenny.  After the ceremony and the meal, we sat for the ‘Night Court’ which is a part of the evening where people share songs, poetry and story. Some were original pieces of work, and some, like mine, were readings of works by others.  This is the poem I chose to read. It is “The True Love” by David Whyte from his book ‘The House of Belonging’.

Bare feet, bare heart

Breakfast table.  Your I love you pierced the armour I hardly knew I wore
though it was heavy and I was tired, wary, opening slowly
I didn’t hug just anyone.
First time we met, I felt elated, high on sparkling water and sparkly eyes
Heart to heart, we sought a deeper hug.

Sacred circle.
Woodland sunshine.
Dream-like in my memory. The day everything changed.
Heart to heart. First kiss.
Take me dancing, I’ll show you magic.

You pierced my armour and I found pieces of me left hidden, lost, broken.
Hand in hand, lead me whole and healthy,
to wild places, high places, naked and free places.
Swear by peace, by love, to stand, to dance.

Kiss me beneath hawthorns, against oaks, on forest floors.
Old tears. Tears of release. Tears of joy.
This dance, bare feet, bare heart.
This dance with you.

Sometimes a Wild God

For my Toastmasters speech tonight, I read a poem. I am working through the Interpretive Reading manual. This was Project 2: Interpreting Poetry.

The poem I read was Sometimes a Wild God by Tom Hirons.

Toastmasters is all about getting experience, inviting feedback, and improving.  The feedback I received for this speech was that I could have given a better introduction, explaining the type of poem and the type of imagery used. To the listener not used to hearing this type of language, it can be a lot to take in at once.

I’m pleased with the delivery. Taking off my shoes and unbuttoning my shirt was my attempt to be a little less ‘civilised’ and a little more ‘wild’.

Shattered New

Day 91 of #100Daychallenge

That new question, that new tower shattering realisation. 

What do you want?

That one decision, that makes today a new day

I choose this

This I choose to do

I choose us, and yes, and expansion

In a moment changed

In a moment destroyed and fertilised, set free

Ready for tomorrow

Ready for now 

Burn bright, burn yes

Ready for the deeper roots

Ready for the broader view

That place held me safe, until that place held me prisoner

Freed to fall, to fly, to swim, to rest in bigger truths

All is calm and changed and cleansed and 

Jupiter shines in morning skies. 


Consider it Rattled

Day 72 of #100Daychallenge

Consider it rattled
Cage shaken
Bars grasped bars shook
Heart tossed and tumbled
World up and downside
Consider it rattled
Sadness, and love, and loss, and fear
Heart tumbled
Reality shifted
Spirit woken and troubled
Summoned and stirred
Called on to witness
Spirits watching, spirit walking
Raven calls
Silent fields
Breath into breath
Ribcages soften
Blood pumping Life
Consider me rattled
Bold and raw
I am wild I am woken
Consider me hungry
Consider me hunting
Breath into spirt
Raven calls
Summoned and watching
Cage open
Heart tumbled
Sky woken